Armchair travel: The Big Bike Trip – three Kiwis on a global cycle journey

There are times when things take us by surprise. There are also times when we feel change approaching, a rising tide rendering us powerless to alter the course that has been set. One would have suspected for some time that Sean’s relationship was falling apart, courtesy of a gulf of distance that the odd message here and there could never bridge.

This is about a journey that was well needed by these three friends to somewhat regain and salt was left of their friendship. Helplessness was all any of them felt. There was no silver bullet, no redeeming act that would ease the pain that followed. A week had passed and the mountains reared up in front of them, each with their own horrific gradient and unforgiving surface. As they had cycled towards Laos on our way to Myanmar, it was apparent that the highest of peaks were in our own heads — the doubt that could creep in, the fear of failure that sometimes knocked on the door.

It’s going to be hard, they thought, as the skies darkened above the tall peaks surrounding the valley. But it was never supposed to be easy. At the Laotian border post at Pang Hoc, they all waited patiently while their documents were checked. The smiling border guards marched around the place, demanding fees for various things, until their passports were handed over.

The road to Luang Prabang, they were told, was in terrible condition. They had climbed a…

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